Christmas 2018 - December 25, 2018 (Thoman)

Gospel: Lk 2:1-14

I. I hate to admit this in public…let alone in a Christmas homily…in a context where
hundreds of people will hear me….BUT, I admit...sometimes I read my horoscope!
Let me be clear…

  • I do not systematically read it every day – not even weekly
  • I do not seek it out,
  • but if I’m paging through the paper and I come across it I will glance down and see what it says
  • ALTHOUGH, sometimes (I admit) sometimes I clip it out – like on my birthday or something…

Just recently I ran across a clipping from about two years ago and it read, “Give
yourself a chance to discover what you want instead of following someone else’s

And as I reread that I wondered why in the world did I clip that out?! I don’t
believe that….it’s not about what “I” want…and it’s certainly not about what others
want for me…I am coming more and more to the conclusion that it’s only about
what God wants for me. This should be my focus…what God wants…it’s about
God’s will…not my will.

The reality, of course, is that it’s easier said than done…it’s always a struggle –
between doing my will and God’s will. My good intentions to do God’s will may well
get derailed by my selfish interests.

II. But this seems to be at least part of the sense of what we celebrate today. Today
we celebrate the awesome belief in our faith that God became human…God has
become one of us. Unlike gods that might live on some distant mountain…or
another planet or something…our God has become intimately present to us and
with us. We are told God came to us in Jesus, “Mary gave birth to her firstborn
son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger…”
And the reason why God came to us in Jesus is to show us…guide us….help
us live good and holy lives. Through his example and teachings, Jesus desires to
guide us along a good path through life. He claimed to be the Way, the Truth, the
Life – his way, truth and life within us is what helps us to know and do God’s will.

III. If we seek to discern God’s will…and if we try to follow that will, things in life will
go so much better. Think of it like obedience and disobedience…in a family. If
the children in a family are not obedient…do not work with their parents to create
a smoothly running household…then things just don’t go well. But when they are
obedient and cooperative, then family life goes so much better.

So it is with us as members of God’s family. If we ignore God’s law, if we insist
on going off on our own and doing what we want contrary to God’s will, then life
just doesn’t go well. But when we are listening and we are seeking God’s will and
do our best to cooperate with God’s will then life goes so much better.

Just as a parent only wants what is good for his or her child, so it is with God.
God only wants what is good for us. Listening to God’s will is for our own good.

IV. We can consider different questions to help us gauge whether or not we are doing
God’s will….

  • One question might be to consider the kinds of choices I make. Are my choices
    nearly always about what I want? What’s good for me? What’s in it for me? Do
    I include the needs of others in my decision making?
  • Another measure might to look at how I spend my money. Is my money used for
    my needs alone…for getting the newest model…or the latest toy…something to
    satisfy my wants? Am I good steward of my financial resources?
  • The same kind of question could be asked about how I share my talents. Do I
    have skills and talents I never share with others? Could my family and my
    community benefit if I shared by skills with them? Or are they just something I
    hold to myself?
  • And the same could be said for time. Is my time spent all for me? Or am I
    willing to spend my time with, and for the benefit of, others?
    These are just some general ways to frame the question: am I doing God’s will?

V. Doing God’s will…living a life which is consistent with God’s will…is not easy. Even
Jesus prayed to do the Father’s will…in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus struggled
between doing his own will or the Father’s will. He prayed to be faithful to doing the
Father’s will.

VI. I doubt it’s ever been written, but I think there should be a horoscope which says
if you do God’s will, life will go well with you. You will know a lot less stress, you
will be at peace knowing you are doing the good and holy thing.
We celebrate today the birth of Jesus – who came to do the Father’s will. May we
who embrace his life, also seek to do the Father’s will and come to know the peace only
he can give.

-----------Fr. Dwayne Thoman